April Tulips and Bee

April 1, 2022

Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,

This 29th edition of the Back to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases along with COVID-19 Community Levels, New Variant, and town data. For a variety of news about Smithfield schools, see our April newsletter, available on this link:  https://bit.ly/3uxHoM5

A Weekly Report on COVID Cases

Over the past week, we have had an additional 10 confirmed COVID cases. This brings our total since our school year began to 940 cases. There was 1 case identified at SHS, 1 case identified at Gallagher, 4 cases at Pleasant View Elementary, 2 cases at LaPerche Elementary and 2 cases at Old County Road Elementary. 

Surveillance COVID Testing Continues

We will continue to offer individual PCR surveillance testing at each school weekly on Tuesdays through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Identifying positive cases early helps to keep families and the greater school community safe from the impact of the COVID virus. You can opt-in at any time by returning the SPS COVID Testing Consent to your student’s school office. Although the case count has significantly decreased, we continue to identify cases early through this testing.

COVID-19 Community Levels (summarized from the CDC website)

Over the course of this pandemic, a community transmission level for COVID-19 was considered high if there were more than 100 cases per 100,000 persons. The CDC has adjusted the criteria for the various levels by looking at the combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days — to determine the COVID-19 community level. New COVID-19 admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied represent the current potential for strain on the healthcare system. Data on new cases acts as an early warning indicator of potential increases in health system strain in the event of a COVID-19 surge.  Considering these new metrics, Smithfield is considered as having a low level risk for COVID-19 transmission at the present time.

A New Variant (summarized from a CNBC article from 3/29)

Data released by the CDC indicates that a variant, BA.2, is now the dominant version of Covid-19 in the U.S. The original omicron variant is referred to as BA.1.  Moreover, the U.K. Health Security Agency is reporting that this subvariant, which has caused a spike in infections in the U.K. and Germany as well as in China, spreads about 75% faster than BA.1.  Though BA.2 spreads faster, it does not make people sicker than the earlier version of omicron, according to data from South Africa and the U.K., among other countries. Dr. Anthony Fauci reports that another surge is not expected, though COVID-19 cases could rise in the coming weeks.

Town Data

The weekly number of new Smithfield COVID cases for the week ending March 26th dropped slightly from 29 cases last week to 27 cases this week. The number of cases in the state dropped proportionately from 1198 last week to 1127 this week. The town rate corresponds to a weekly rate of 123 new cases per 100,000 residents. Our community rate is considered as having a low level risk for COVID-19 transmission. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.  


Judy Paolucci, Superintendent